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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (Paramount Pictures, 1989; see also 1989 in film) is the fifth feature film based on the popular Star Trek science fiction television series. It is often referred to as ST5:TFF or TFF. It is widely regarded as the worst film of the series.

The film was directed by William Shatner, following two films directed by his co-star, Leonard Nimoy. Shatner also co-wrote the film.


Following the events of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the crew is taking the new Enterprise NCC-1701-A for its shakedown cruise.

The ship is captured by Mr. Spock's (Leonard Nimoy) half-brother Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill) and his ragtag army of followers. Sybok has rejected the Vulcan ways of logic and supression of emotions, and has embarked on a quest to find the true physical location of heaven. In his quest he takes the Enterprise to the center of the galaxy in an effort to find God.

To make matters worse, a Klingon captain is set on killing Captain Kirk (William Shatner) to make a name for himself.


The film is loathed by many Star Trek fans, and received terrible critical reviews. (One nickname for the film is "Star Trek V: The Final Insult".) Most tend to place the blame for the film's quality squarely on Shatner's shoulders. It's been suggested that the film - originally shot to be much longer than its under-two-hour running time in release - lost much of its meaning as a result of draconian editing. It is also suggested that the problems of the film were outside Shatner's control. Still others remark that the film stayed true to the original series and explored the friendship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy better than any of the others.

The ending of the movie originally involved Kirk being chased by gargoyles hewn from the rocky terrain. Most of this footage was scrapped when the costume began to deteriorate on-set. Due to budget cuts, Shatner was unable to refilm sequences and ended up having to edit unconvincing shots of "God" firing on him from the footage of the conversation at his altar from earlier in the movie.

The special effects work was also hampered by the budget cuts. Instead of using the special effects studio used for earlier Trek films, Industrial Light and Magic, the crew went with the much smaller Associates & Ferren . The special effects supervisor, Bran Ferren, publicly admitted he didn't care about the quality of the effects work, and the end results were predictably poor.

Contrary to some accounts (and wishful thinking), TFF has never been officially excised from the Star Trek canon, even though the events of the film have never been referred to again in later films and series. According to The Star Trek Chronology, Trek creator Gene Roddenberry considered elements of this film to be apocryphal though it has never been confirmed exactly what he objected to (though many point to Spock's half-brother). Other examples of errors include the representation that the Enterprise turbo-lift shalf shows 78 decks when the ship only has 22, or that that the ship was able to travel to the center of the galaxy (20,000 light years) in only a few days, when such distances take years to to travel elsewhere in Star Trek (see Star Trek Voyager). Nonetheless, it remains part of Trek canon.

The Enterprise's problems during its shakedown cruise are reminiscent of those of its predecessor in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The name of mythical planet 'Shaka-Ri' was derived from the name of the actor originally sought for the role of Sybok: Sean Connery, who was unavailable because he was busy filming Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

External links

Star Trek

Television series
Original Series | Animated Series | Phase Two | Next Generation | Deep Space Nine | Voyager | Enterprise
The Motion Picture | II: The Wrath of Khan | III: The Search for Spock | IV: The Voyage Home
V: The Final Frontier | VI: The Undiscovered Country | Generations | First Contact | Insurrection | Nemesis

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45